Two minutes from last night’s show that are so off the wall that you’re left wondering how he’ll end up walking them back in tonight’s monologue. Watch, then read on.
Tucker Carlson is now telling his audience to harass people who wear face masks outside.
If they see children wearing masks, Tucker says the response should be no different than when you see a kid being abused — "call the police immediately, contact child protective services" pic.twitter.com/4svVH0JY3s
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) April 27, 2021
Imagine approaching a stranger on the street and telling them “The piece of fabric on your face offends me so you should remove it.” Imagine calling the police about it, diverting them from more serious matters. Tucker’s a long, long way from the libertarianism he embraced back in the day.
He’s right on the science of it, at least. There’s no reason for healthy vaccinated people to be wearing masks outside and probably no reason for healthy unvaccinated people to do so (unless they’re in a crowd, maybe). Healthy kids, especially younger kids, seem sufficiently immune from COVID that forcing them to mask up is more a matter of hygiene theater than meaningful risk reduction. But people behave in all manner of “anti-scientific” ways that go uncorrected by bystanders in the name of minding one’s own business. Smoking outdoors is bad for the smoker’s health and sets a poor example, but how often have you confronted someone smoking in a park, or on a sidewalk?
How often have you called CPS on a parent with a pack-a-day habit because their kid is breathing the smoke at home?
Mask-wearing outdoors isn’t always cosmetic virtue-signaling either. “Our son’s friend has an immunocompromised sibling. The friend wears a mask outside. So I ask our kid to do so when his friend is over to make him comfortable. It’s called kindness,” replied Rachel Larimore to Carlson’s spiel. Or what if you’re outdoors with a mask on simply because you’re en route from one indoor space to another nearby and figured you might as well leave it on for the short trip? I haven’t worn a mask outdoors for a year but if I felt like wearing one and some Tucker type accosted me about it, what I’d say in response can’t be reproduced here without violating site standards.
And if I were a parent and some freak sicced *CPS* on me for masking my kid, alleging “child abuse,” my rage would be so incandescent that it could power a city.
In the unlikely event that you’re tempted to take Tucker’s advice (which itself could be a crime, since making a false police report is against the law), be warned that it’s not just Democrats whom you might find yourself nose-to-nose with:
While #COVID19 is still prevalent, do you think people generally should or should not wear face masks outdoors?
— YouGov America (@YouGovAmerica) April 26, 2021
Soon Carlson won’t even have the excuse that outdoor mask-wearers are inadvertently encouraging the state to keep mask mandates in place by conforming their behavior to them. Biden’s set to announce new relaxed guidance on outdoor masking today, which should nudge states with strict mandates like Massachusetts to loosen up. The trend in pandemic restrictions for the next several months will inevitably be towards easing existing rules rather than tightening them. If you want to wear a mask outdoors because it makes you feel better, have at it. But the regulatory momentum will be with the anti-maskers regardless.
The idea of calling CPS or the police on a parent for masking their kid is so beyond the pale that I can only assume Tucker will spin it tonight as a type of satire. One firm rule of populism is that you can’t admit error or regret, especially for intemperate remarks about “the enemy,” and so presumably he’ll retreat by claiming it was hyperbole to make a point. “I wanted to give the pandemic’s rule-enforcers a taste of their own medicine,” he might say, “to see how they’d react to the prospect of busybodies on the anti-mask side hassling them for a change. Of course I wasn’t serious.” The truth is that he was probably just reaching for a new culture-war outrage to rally around, not unlike the brief frenzy over the weekend about Biden supposedly wanting to ban burgers or whatever. Either way, whether he was serious or not, don’t take his advice here. Needless to say.